EL CAJON, Calif. (KGTV) — Granite Hills High School in El Cajon was the scene of a shooting that happened 21 years ago, and a resource officer says he relives the incident every time a mass shooting happens around the country.
Richard Agundez, who stepped up as a hero and stopped the gunman says every time he hears about a mass shooting like the most recent in Uvalde takes him back to that day.
"The bad guy was standing over there. The suspect was standing over there. He was on the side. I had to check the background. I couldn't shoot if I had kids in the background. It lined up very much in my favor that I was able to engage him in an open, clean area," he recalled about the school shooting in El Cajon.
It's a day that the El Cajon community won't forget. On March 22, 2001, retired officer Agundez sprang into action to protect his students when a gunman terrorized granite hills high school.
"All I remember is that he was there and he was attempting to reload his shotgun and I wasn't going to let that happen. That was it. He was going to go down," said Agundez.
The retired officer says it took him less than a minute from the moment he called in the shooting to take down the gunman. He tells those who call him a hero he was just doing his job and credits his response to his training as a SWAT officer.
"The training is vital. They allow us to train. They allow us to shoot. They allow us to go to classes and that was huge it's huge," he said.
While authorities have said the officers in Uvalde did not respond correctly- Agundez said every situation is different.
"We just won't know until it all comes down and we realize the facts. That's what I hope everybody realizes. It's not cut and dry- black and while."
Agundez said change does need to be made. He tells the families in Uvalde the tragedy breaks his heart.
"I don't know what you can say in words. I don't know what you can say. I pray for them all the time. I know the nation does. It's tragic, but I can imagine what they were feeling trying to get in and get their kids," said Agundez.